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What is Pranayama?

The Power of the Breath & The Anatomy of Breathing

In yoga we use the word Prana to refer to the life force, the mysterious power that animates us from our emergence in the womb, through our birth, until the moment of our death. While Prana is not simply the breath, the breath is often the clearest and most direct pathway into exploring a relationship with Prana. Collectively, we refer to the very focused yoga techniques of engaging and shaping the breath for particular effects as pranayama.

Despite its awesome power, the movement and potential of Prana can become blocked in us because of all kinds of patterns of holding or "stuck spots" that we develop in in our bodymind, largely as unconscious defence mechanisms to the challenges of life. The focused movement and awareness practices of yoga are an excellent way to attend closely to the body and the breath and therefore the Prana; we can befriend it, and gradually liberate it from the stuck spots and holding patterns and allow it to fulfil its potential, which is to nourish and cleanse, to empower and delight, to connect us with the mysteries of creation and dissolution. 

In this workshop we will begin by looking some simple breath anatomy and explore it in an experiential way, so that we have a sense experience of the anatomy of breathing, meaning we don't just "know about it" in our brains but we feel it as it is happening in a fully embodied way.

Then we move into some specific movement and breathing techniques to first deepen our awareness of the sensation of breathing, and then we explore shaping the breath pattern experience in various ways, to stimulate, to balance and to deeply relax.

The intention of this workshop is not to master any of the techniques, but to introduce Prana as a concept and then as a living experience by meeting the breath as it is and then learning how to work wisely with what we meet. In this way, we can begin to dedicate ourselves to a partnership with this essential ally. Over time, we come to feel that it is in fact a beloved friend, and we find we are devoted to serving it's needs as we realise that it is entirely devoted to serving ours.

This workshop is suitable for everyone who has some basic yoga experience.

Workshop Contents

These are not Clickable links--access is through your Student Dashboard once you Enrol

  • 1

    Pranayama: Befriending and Liberating the Beloved Breath

    • 1. What to Expect and What You Need

    • How to make your own Props

    • 2. Link for Recording

    • 3. Further Resources